The American governing body for cycling says it must accept the jurisdiction of the sport's international federation and side against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in the court fight to determine which has group has jurisdiction over the Lance Armstrong doping case.
Meanwhile, in new papers filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas, USADA claims federal courts have no basis to intervene in its case against the seven-time Tour de France winner, who is charged by the agency with repeated use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The charges filed by the agency in June have set off a multi-continent, multiagency fight among various cycling and anti-doping bodies over just who should handle the Armstrong matter.
Armstrong filed a lawsuit trying to block USADA's case him, arguing the agency's rules violate athletes' constitutional right to a fair trial. The International Cycling Union (UCI) then asserted it has jurisdiction in the matter, saying USADA had no basis to get involved. USADA says its authority stems from the World Anti-Doping Agency, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.
Armstrong's lawyers wrote a letter Friday to U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, attaching a letter from Stephen Hess, a lawyer from USA Cycling.
"USAC believes that UCI has the power to express its interpretation of WADA's anti-doping code," Hess wrote.
Also attached was a letter from UCI President Pat McQuaid to USAC Chief Executive Officer Steve Johnson on Thursday, stating "USADA has no jurisdiction for testing in international races."
Sparks held a hearing on Aug. 10 and is expected to rule as soon as next week.
"The World Anti-Doping Agency, the organization charged with monitoring international compliance with the code, has determined USADA has results management authority in this case because USADA discovered the alleged anti-doping rule violations," the agency's lawyer, William Bock III, wrote to Sparks on Friday.
USADA said that if Armstrong disputes the process, he cannot go to court but could bring a case in an American Arbitration Association process and then potentially appeal an arbitration decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Said USADA CEO Travis Tygart: "UCI's attempt to control the outcome through pressuring USA Cycling is tellingly sad and is further evidence why USADA as an independent national anti-doping agency that exists solely to protect clean athletes and the integrity of sport is the proper body to handle the case."